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Kitchen essentials

Updated on April 29, 2015
Utensils are essential to many kitchens.
Utensils are essential to many kitchens. | Source

The kitchen

In many homes, the kitchen has a vital role. It is often the place where delicious meals are prepared and lives are shared. No matter how you use your kitchen, it is a safe bet that you have some basic essentials. These items are fairly common in kitchens and can range in price from super cheap to "wow".

The question is, what exactly is considered a kitchen essential? For some of you it could include things like espresso machines, convection ovens and an electric skillet. For others it could mean a slow cooker, microwave and tea kettle. These items, as important as they are to the individuals using them, are not the type of essentials I'm talking about here.

I am referring to the most basic kitchen items that are often taken for granted. Things like plates and glasses, silverware and cooking utensils. Even if you do not cook on a regular basis, I'm willing to bet that you have at least one pan hiding in your kitchen somewhere! How about a bowl and/or a plate? Perhaps you have a spoon and fork?

You see, most of us take those types of things for granted because we always know that they are there. You don't truly learn how to appreciate them until you don't have anything at all in that kitchen.

Just the basics.
Just the basics. | Source

Starting from scratch

Many high school graduates, college students and divorcees (like myself) know all too well what it means to start from scratch. If you are lucky, you have friends and family members who help out with some of the basic items you need in your kitchen.

I am one of those people starting over and am faced with the task of building up my kitchen the way I want it...again. The kitchen is a very important part of my life. I enjoy cooking and baking. I have fond childhood memories of conversations with my mom while we cooked or did the dishes. I eat in my kitchen and have great conversations over morning coffee at my kitchen table.

When I moved to my current residence, all I had was a four cup coffee maker, a warped plate, a coffee mug, a spoon, a fork and a mini cutting board. No pans, no microwave and no way to cook. I have come a long way in the past months and my kitchen is starting to look somewhat cozy and is functional now.

I guarantee this much, I know exactly what kitchen essentials are now! Having a saucepan to boil water in, is an essential. A good kitchen knife is an essential (butter knives just don't cut through potatoes too well, hmm). A can opener is one of the most awesome gadgets ever created. I figured that one out when I had canned foods I could not use because I had no can opener.

Humble but happy. My cooking central.
Humble but happy. My cooking central. | Source

Just the basics

Whether you are stocking a kitchen for the first time or the tenth, the basics are a must. So what are the basics, exactly? Here is a good generalized list:

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Silverware
  • Fry pan
  • Saucepan
  • Set of cooking utensils
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Cookie sheet (multiple uses)

This is a good starting point for stocking your kitchen. With these things on hand, you are guaranteed to not starve. Most, if not all, of these items can be purchased at your local dollar store. The key is to not worry about getting the best of everything right away. Obtain what you need to make simple meals for now. You can always upgrade, as your finances allow, over time.

This is a wonderful starter set found on
This is a wonderful starter set found on | Source

Helpful suggestion regarding kitchen sets

I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a cookie sheet and saucepan from a friend for awhile. Then I came across a sight for my sore eyes: kitchen sets online. I was wandering through the pages of the Walmart website when I came across complete sets for the kitchen.

The set I purchased is available only online and at a fantastic price. It was sent via FedEx and I received it in less than a week. It has everything I need for basic cooking and baking. The items are not fancy or premier in grade, but they are wonderful for one or two people. The set includes:

  • Two standard size dinner plates
  • Two cereal bowls
  • Two drinking glasses
  • Two travel mugs
  • Silverware service for two
  • Three kitchen knives
  • Three cooking utensils
  • A saucepan with lid
  • An 8" fry pan (it is small)
  • A small pizza pan
  • Small baking pan
  • Cutting mat
  • Pizza cutter
  • Can opener
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Set of measuring cups

This set is perfect for what I needed at the price I could afford ($34.95 for the black set). There are thirty-eight pieces in all. By the way, no I am in no way affiliated with Walmart. I just love this set! I'm sure you could find this and other sets elsewhere and maybe even at cheaper prices and that would be the way to do it.

My only point for bringing up kitchen combo sets is that you can get pretty much all of your essentials in one box for one low price. If you cannot afford a set, then do the next best thing and shop the dollar stores. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get the kitchen items you need.

About kitchen essentials

It doesn't matter if you are just starting out in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, there are certain things that are a must. We all have things we consider essential like my coffee maker and slow cooker. However, those types of items are not truly necessary. Plates, silverware and pans are necessary for preparing and enjoying most meals.

It can be a little overwhelming when you are trying to figure out what you need to make your kitchen functional. Hopefully I've given you some helpful ideas and suggestions to make the task a bit easier. Above all else, try to make your kitchen comfortable and functional.

© 2014 Tammy Cramblett


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    • Tammy Cramblett profile image

      Tammy Cramblett 3 years ago from United States

      Hi chefmancave. You are absolutely right about a mixing bowl! I can't believe I actually left that one out. Thanks :)

    • chefmancave profile image

      Robert Loescher 3 years ago from Michigan


      The debate over "Kitchen Essentials" has been raging for many years. Your list is truly Spartan in design and you are right - This is right down to the essentials. I would like to add only one item: a mixing bowl. I cannot go two days without mixing up some type of sauce. Mayo & Spicy Mustard, Cream Cheese & Spinach, etc.

      May I also suggest to your readers a stop at a TJ Maxx store. Every time I go into TJ Maxx I walk out with at least one great kitchen utensil. My last visit resulted in a $20 knife for $6 and 2 Cutting Boards for $8. I also found a $15 jar of coconut oil for $7. (Best oil to use for seasoning new pans) Good job with this article!

      Chef ManCave